Issues Update, March/April 1994
Celebrate Life March-April 1994
F.A.C.E. VOTE EXPECTED SOON; F.O.C.A. STALLED
F.A.C.E., the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act, passed both houses of Congress in November. When Congress returns from recess in January, a conference committee will work out the differences in the two versions of the bill, and F.A.C.E. is expected to pass in February, and to receive President Bill Clinton's signature immediately.
American Life League president Judie Brown has promised that A.L.L. will file suit as soon as the President signs the bill into law. The lawsuit will contest the constitutionality of F.A.C.E., since the legislation discriminates against pro-life protesters, and lumps together nonviolent protesters with those rare few who engage in violence. Since F.A.C.E. is targeted specifically at the intent of peaceful protesters (it would punish any person who "with intent to prevent or discourage any person from obtaining reproductive health service, intentionally and physically obstructs, hinders, or impedes, the ingress or egress of another to a medical facility"), A.L.L. believes that F.A.C.E. runs afoul of the First Amendment, limiting free speech only for people engaged in public protest for a specific reason.
The Freedom of Choice Act (F.O.C.A.) is stalled in the House of Representatives. Tom Foley, Speaker of the House, has declined to bring the bill to a floor vote except under voting rules that would prohibit debate and forbid amendments to the bill; since he is unlikely to assemble the required votes to invoke such rules, F.O.C.A. appears to be dead for the time being.
WOMEN'S REFERRAL SERVICE HELPS WOMEN AFTER ABORTION
Women's Referral Service in Athens, Ohio, provides free assistance to women who are suffering in the aftermath of abortion. Women's Referral Service has a two-pronged approach: finding, helping and supporting injured victims of abortion, and exposing and bringing to justice those who injure them. "Our services are free to the caller," said Dale Butler, who with his wife, Suzette, founded the group. "We offer legal helps, and a host of referrals for women who are trying to put their lives back in order. Some need immediate medical attention. Others are working out years of guilt."
Women's Referral Service maintains a toll-free hotline (800-468-4608), which they publicize with billboard advertising; through Yellow Pages advertising in selected cities; and with business cards distributed in bulk to pro-life organizations.
For more information, contact Women's Referral Service, 14087 East Scatter Ridge Rd., Athens OH 45701.
Another group that offers legal help to women injured by abortion is Legal Aid for Women, an American Life League affiliate in Pensacola, Florida. Their toll-free number is 800-962-2319. One way they publicize their services is with banners towed by airplanes over football games and along Florida beaches. For more information, contact Legal Aid for Women at 1145 Candlewood Circle, Pensacola, FL 32514; 904-474-1091.
Finally, among the organizations ministering to women suffering from post-abortion trauma are Women Exploited by Abortion (WEBA), Rte. 1, Box 821, Venus, TX 76084 (214- 366-3600); and the National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing, 3501 S. Lake Dr., P.O. Box 07477, Milwaukee, WI 53207 (414-483-4141).
MARCH OF DIMES' ARTICLES ON ABORTING THE DISABLED
In its "Birth Defects: Original Articles Series," published for health professionals, the March of Dimes has carried several articles on abortion of children with birth defects, reports Mary Meehan, pro-life correspondent of the National Catholic Register. Articles published in 1987 included one on how to help couples deal with the strain and grief that follow abortion, and another on preventing thalassemia through prenatal testing and abortion of babies diagnosed to have the condition.
In 1990, the series included an article on reducing multiple pregnancies (killing one or more of the babies in the womb) when fertility treatments have resulted in too many babies being conceived at once.
"Birth Defects carries a disclaimer statement, noting that publication of controversial and personal viewpoints does not mean endorsement of them by the March of Dimes," Meehan pointed out. "Nevertheless, Birth Defects doesn't publish articles challenging the ethics of eugenic abortion."
CHINA ABORTS THE HANDICAPPED
China's minister of public health, Chen Minzhang, wants to use government-ordered abortion and sterilization to prevent the birth of handicapped children. More than 10 million disabled Chinese could have been killed before birth if stricter measures had been in effect, and the Chinese health minister is hoping to force the sterilization of more than a quarter of a million women.
This plan for eugenic abortion follows China's notorious policy of forbidding women to have more than one child, and forcing women to have abortions if they get pregnant after giving birth once.
MILLIONS FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD
The United States Agency for International Development plans to give $75 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation over the next five years to fight overpopulation, which J. Brian Atwood, the agency's director, says is responsible for the problems in places such as Somalia and Haiti.
The Clinton Administration also plans to resume funding for the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, which has not only worked for the proliferation of contraception and abortion, but has supported repressive policies such as China's one-child-per-family limit.
CRISIS PREGNANCY ASSISTANCE IN THE DELAWARE VALLEY
More than 100 organizations in the greater Philadelphia area offer help to women in crisis pregnancies. Groups in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey are listed, along with their phone numbers, in the monthly newspaper Voices for the Unborn. A single copy is $1.50, available from Voices for the Unborn, P.O. Box 617, Feasterville, PA 19053 (215-355-5292).
AMA RENEWS OPPOSITION TO ASSISTED SUICIDE
In December, the American Medical Association reaffirmed its opposition to physician- assisted suicide, calling it "fundamentally inconsistent" with the professional role of the physician. This statement was stronger than the AMA's 1991 resolution, which merely acknowledged the dangers of legalizing physician-assisted suicide, and declined to condone it at that time.
The AMA, however, still condones abortion. Source: "Life at Risk," December 1993.
"TURN OFF THE TV DAY"
Morality in Media is asking Americans to turn off their televisions on Friday, February 11. Its purpose is "to call attention to the escalation of TV programs featuring gratuitous sex, violence, profanity and anti-religious bias; and second, to urge Americans to express their concerns to those primarily responsible-namely, TV executives and the advertisers who sponsor these exploitative programs," said Robert Peters, president of Morality in Media. It "is not a call for a boycott against advertisers, or is it an excuse to 'bash' TV executives and producers! It is a call for constructive, socially responsible television programming." For those who have trouble thinking of something else to do besides watch TV, Morality in Media offers a list of alternative, wholesome activities. They also are asking people to write to three of the nation's top sponsors of "socially irresponsible shows." For more information on participating in "Turn off the TVDay," contact Morality in Media, 475 Riverside Dr., New York, NY 10115 (212-870-3222).
PRO-ABORTION VIDEO IN MEXICO
Catholics for a Free Choice of Mexico has produced and is distributing a videotape purporting to present an alternative Catholic position on abortion, that is, asserting that abortion is not wrong.
The video includes testimonies from women who claim that the Church is not sensitive to their needs because it forbids them to have abortions; a theologian who asserts that there is no agreement in the Church as to when an embryo becomes a person, and that therefore Catholics are free to follow their conscience; and a therapist who claims that women who choose abortion are being socially responsible.
Catholics for a Free Choice of Mexico intends to distribute this Spanish-language video throughout Latin America.
FEMINIST CONGRESS IN CHILE SEEKS ABORTION LAW REPEAL
The Open Forum for Health and Reproductive Rights sponsored a symposium in Santiago, Chile, in September, 1992, as part of their effort to overturn Chile's 1989 law banning abortion. The Forum is calling for a legalization of "therapeutic" abortion, which by their definition includes abortion on account of risks to a woman's life or health (including psychological health); fetal malformation; pregnancy resulting from rape or incest; a woman's being HIV-positive; or socio-economic problems. Candy Everson de Barros, who prepared a report on the conference, pointed out that this broad definition of "therapeutic" abortion would cover virtually any abortion.
Catholics for a Free Choice for Latin America and the Caribbean were present also to explain to those attending the conference "why Catholics can and should support the legalization of abortion," although de Barros pointed out that the conference's sponsors consider the Catholic Church their number-one enemy.
Nevertheless, "the atmosphere was always respectful," reported de Barros, "even the replies to the statements made by pro-lifers." Some of those who attended, she said, "were not in agreement with the pro abortion arguments of the organizers."
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